We're songwriters, not performers. Everything here should be considered a demo, and we'd love for someone else to perform it better.
The music on this website is free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. Share it as you like with proper credit to the composers, Dave Leigh and William Hoover. However, if you want to perform or distribute it for money, contact Dave to arrange for proper permission.
In the name of all that's anal retentive, I've compiled statistics for ALL of the Song Fu competitions. I have it in Excel and OpenOffice.org formats. If you're interested, bookmark this page. I'll keep it updated here.
UPDATE 2010.01.03: I've added a "% of Total Votes" tab. Now you can see how each song did relative to the others within a competition round. This eliminates misinformation that arises when comparing the raw votes of two rounds having different participation. (A song can have the most votes and do poorly, percentage-wise, compared to other rounds.) This makes it possible to do meaningful trend analysis.
(live demo - piano) This is a ghost Song Fu; one of the things they were looking for this year was a Winter Holiday song that's not about the holidays. I'm thinking this one probably wouldn't meet the challenge on technical grounds. This is more of a parody than a brand new song, but nevertheless here it is. I also am a little late on my self-imposed deadline, but thought better of it when I realized that I'm not actually competing, had some other obligations, and had already done a YouTube vid and penned a Biography of a Song this week. Combined with my revised Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, this comprises the extent of my holiday songs for this season.
For those that aren't familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, the Dungeon Master (“DM”) is sort of the author and game referee. This is a conversation between me ("D") and my son Timothy ("T") (originally Will was going to do it, but Tim volunteered for the meager bribe of being allowed to open a Christmas present early).
The Twelve Days of the Campaign dave & will leigh
D: Tim, let me tell you about this D&D campaign I'm in. T: Is it good? D: Yeah, it's great! T: Well tell me about it! [music starts] Wait a minute? It's musical? D: Yep.
On the FIRST day of the campaign my DM gave to me A Deck of Many Things!
T: Isn't that a lot? D: Not really.
On the SECOND day of the campaign my DM gave to me Two spider gloves and a Deck of Many Things!
T: Don't you mean gloves of spider climbing? D: yeah, but that doesn't scan.
On the THIRD day of the campaign my DM gave to me Three chain mail armor Two spider gloves and a Deck of Many Things!
T: You do know that's three Decks of Many Things so far, right? D: Yeah. So?
On the FOURTH day of the campaign my DM gave to me Four bags of loot Three chain mail armor Two spider gloves And a Deck of Many Things!
T: OK, I sense a pattern. How bout we cut this Monty Haul campaign short. Just skip to the end. D: you sure? T: Yep D: OK.
On the TWELFTH day of the campaign my DM sent at me Twelve Chromatic Dragons! Eleven Lich Lords!
Ten Cyclops Fighters!
T: say again?
Nine Cave Trolls! Eight Red Beholders!
T: now wait just a minute!
Seven Hill Giants! Six Angry Orcs! FIVE UNDEAD THINGS!
T: Aw, come ON!
Four bags of loot Three chain mail armor Two spider gloves And a Deck of Many Things!
This song is just a little weird. My lyricist, William, had noticed a little boy who was a dead ringer for a kid he'd known growing up. The boy was about the same age now as they were then, if you follow me. It hardly seemed possible, in that albino African-Americans aren't common. So he wrote these verses.
Around the same time I was reading a story by Harlan Ellison called "Jeffty is Five", in which not only does Jeffty never grow old, but Jeffty's world is equally unchanged. So, given the verses from William and an understanding of the concept from H.E., I finished the song. Here, this explains the concept:
The song is simply an exploration of what it might feel like to always be a child. I know when I was young, I couldn't wait to be older. What if your birthday never comes?
Man! Look at that serious face! I'm really tempted to do that again, this time wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or something.
So Long wmh - pre-1982
He was young when I was young It seems I knew him long ago And now I don't know him at all. But he doesn't grow
And it's been so long He doesn't grow His day won't come His life goes on It's been so long His eyes, they show When death has come Take me along.
Forever ever frozen in time Escaping age for a life He remains a child, remains behind Still moving in my eye.
And it's been so long He doesn't grow His day won't come His life goes on and on and on And it's been so long His eyes, they show When death has come Take me along.
The black boy with the white face Who runs who hides who plays Forever hidden in space Still moving in one place.
And it's been so long He doesn't grow His day won't come His life goes on and on and on and on and on... And it's been so long His eyes, they show When death has come Please take me along. (So long, so long!) Take me along (So long, so long!) Take me along
I'm watching the Song Fu competition with some interest. A few people said I should compete in such a thing, but honestly I think I may write too slowly to do it. So I'm going to simply try to see if I can do the challenges. It's not really a fair test because I've already seen the sorts of things that other people did for rounds one and two, and I've had two days of looking at both of those challenges plus the last one.
To give myself a better test, I'm going to try to do all three songs by next Saturday, though I'm not necessarily going to do them in the order the challenges were presented.
Here's my take on the second challenge, "Write a song about a number."
Twenty-Two dfl - 13 Dec 2009
Twenty-two We don't know each other well But I've seen you in the hallway As I check my mail And I wonder if you're busy Friday night? We could get to know each other, if that's alright We could have some coffee, enjoy a talk, and then we'll say goodnight I'll slip down the hallway to my room, go to bed, turn out the light In the morning when I get the paper I will smile at you And I'll say, "Good morning, number twenty-two!" And you will smile at me And you'll say, "Good morning, number twenty-three!"
This is a rough cover of Inverse T. Clown's original song, "Today's the Day". I went for lowest common denominator with this one, hence simple guitar (the only kind I play), and I ignore most of the great figures that are in the original. I made some other changes to the tune (and esp. the bridge) appropriate to the genre. In every case where the lyrics are changed it's because I forgot the words and had to make something up quick, not because I thought I was improving it.
I had a dream last night In which everything wrong in my life went right And much to my surprise It was a quick transition It played out so vividly That's it's hard to describe what it did to me Suffice to say I took it As a premonition
Today's the day I get a move on Today's the day I change Today's the day that I improve on Who I am and everything I do: Today's the day that I break up with you
Just stop and think about All the times I gave in so that we'd work out If you look at the score I think I tip the balance But you prob'ly think that's great 'Cause you take and you drain and manipulate I guess every succubus Is gonna have those talents
Today's the day that I get angry Today's the day I fight Today's the day that I harangue The telling-off that's way past overdue: Today's the day that I break up with you
Don't look at me like that With your cute pouting lips and your big, sad eyes You're pretty, but you're pretty much a bitch
It's time for you to see That the world is the world universally And nowhere does it say That you can run my planet So you take our history And your need for control and co-misery And brace yourself real good Then go ahead and cram it
Today's the day that I'm the victor Today's the day I win Today's the day I do your sister Here's a toast to starting life anew: Today's the day that I wake up It's time to say I've had enough Today's the day that I break up with you
Another Jonathan Coulton cover. It's Still Alive, the ending-credits song from the video game, Portal.
BorbaSpinotti got me thinking about doing this. It hadn't crossed my mind before because I really like the song as it's done in Portal, and it never occurred to me to re-interpret it. As it stands, other than mucking about with the dynamics I'm not doing anything to re-interpret the tune... it's just how I'd play the accompaniment if I'd written it, and its simple enough that most anybody could learn it. Instead, I decided to re-interpret the vocals, since I could never in a million years pull off GLaDOS, and Jonathan Coulton already simply sings it as a ballad. So I imagine that the Aperture Science labs are NOT run by the AI, GLaDOS. Instead, they're run by a real, live mad scientist. Then I cast Peter Cushing in the part. Then I throw in a little Bill Shatner sing-talking. I hope it works. It will sound better with practice, I'm sure.
If you're completely confused by all this talk of GLaDOS, read the Portal Wikipedia entry. Basically, it boils down to this: in Portal, you're the lab rat in a science experiment being conducted by a deranged computer.
Now, if you like the arrangement, and want to play it yourself, I teach you how here:
You'll need the lyrics and chords. You can get them HERE. Then check out the JoCo store on the same website and try out the other songs. Buy some.
The tutorial is appropriate to beginning musicians. More advanced pianists will quickly get bored.
It's the best angle I could get with that camera, nevertheless my hands get in the way of the keys, so I hope you get the idea. My fingering sucks in some places, so it's a case of "do what I say, not what I do." Use the fingering that's comfortable to you and keeps you out of trouble. As for myself, I don't think I've played a song exactly the same way twice, and probably won't ever. Things get added, subtracted, or shuffled around according to my mood and audience. So don't sweat the small stuff.
The important thing to remember is that you're a performer, not a tape deck, so make the song your own, and above all have fun with it. They call it "playing" an instrument for a reason.
This one's not funny, yet it's one of my very favorite Jonathan Coulton songs because it's just very simple and honest. Let's face it, anybody who's ever gotten tongue tied over the girl can relate to the sentiment: "She's so amazing I couldn't possibly rate. I might as well not try."
Go HERE for lyrics & guitar tabs, or get his Thing A Week version and donate to the starving artist from THIS LINK.
This is really one of my favorite songs. Oh, yeah, I love this tune. I did it as a neo-spiritual. Theres a minor crescendo at "I once killed a man...", and things come to a real head in the last verse, where you've got strings, chorus, tho whole bolt of cloth, right up to the last word, where it just ends. The song is cut short, just like the life of the Inmate. It's impossible to hear it without getting a chill.
At least, that's how it is in my head. One of the biggest frustrations of being a composer without a band is that YOU don't hear what I hear. Nevertheless...
They say you should write about what you know. If that's true in every case, then how in the world are we qualified to write about Death Row? Because in a deeper sense, we're all on Death Row, with no possibility of parole. Try this: read the lyrics and think of it in terms of a metaphor for your father's death. We think of our parents as indestructible, and their deaths are the first real foreshadowing of our own mortality. This is when, like the Inmate, we see the Angels coming.
Now is that deep or what?
Like Norman wmh - August, 2005
I live in solitaire like Norman Truly he's a friend of mine But I don't see the angels a-comin' So Norman tells me that I am blind
Norman tells his great big stories Mostly funny -- sad at times If I could only be like Norman I might escape these walls I climb
A promised land beyond the fences Of which he speaks now 20 years And says if not for all this muscle These past mistakes would disappear
I once killed a man like Norman I mean, at least that's what they say But he could never harm another I know him and it's not his way
I hear footsteps echo down the hall now They've sent for Norman, absent stay They say they've come to end the misery Of all his victims here today
Alone in solitaire like Norman Truly, once a friend of mine But now I see the angels comin' And here I am, just like Norman Oh no! Here I am, just like Norman Oh, Lord! Here I am. Just like Norman